Chromebook Challenges: Streamlining 2-Step Verification for Educators


“As an expert, could you advise on the challenges we’re facing with mandatory 2-Step Verification in our Google Workspace? Specifically, we’re encountering issues when staff members, typically teachers, who have set up SMS for their second factor, attempt to log in on a Chromebook. The system prompts them to use that same Chromebook to generate a security code upon subsequent logins. This becomes problematic when the Chromebook was borrowed from a student cart and is no longer easily accessible. Although we’ve instructed staff to use the ‘Try another way’ option to receive a text message, this solution is temporary. Even after signing out of all Chromebooks in their account’s security settings, the issue recurs with the next Chromebook login. We’ve tried disabling the DeviceSecondFactorAuthentication setting, but to no avail. Is there a method to prevent Chromebooks from being automatically registered as a second factor on our managed devices or user accounts, considering that we’re not currently positioned to move away from SMS as a second factor?”


When a teacher sets up SMS as their second factor and logs into a Chromebook, Google Workspace recognizes the Chromebook as a trusted device and prompts for a security code generated by it for future logins. This becomes an issue when the Chromebook is part of a shared pool and may not be readily available for subsequent logins.

Temporary Solutions:

The ‘Try another way’ option is a stopgap measure allowing staff to use SMS instead of the Chromebook-generated code. However, this does not prevent the Chromebook from being recognized as a second factor again in the future.

Potential Solutions:


User Education:

Continuously educate users on the importance of always having their mobile device available for 2SV, especially if they frequently switch between shared devices.


Policy Adjustment:

Review and adjust the 2SV policies within Google Workspace Admin Console to better fit the shared device environment. This might include setting up a policy that does not automatically trust Chromebooks for 2SV.


Alternative 2SV Methods:

Encourage the use of alternative second factors that are not device-dependent, such as security keys or Google’s Prompt, which can be more manageable in a shared device context.


Feedback to Google:

Provide feedback to Google about this specific use-case. They may offer a solution or consider it for future updates, as they continuously improve the platform.

Long-Term Considerations:

While SMS is not the most secure form of 2SV, it is indeed better than not having 2SV at all. However, it would be prudent to plan for a transition to more secure methods in the future when the organizational climate allows for it.


There is no straightforward way to prevent Chromebooks from being automatically registered as a second factor without potentially compromising the convenience for users. The best approach is a combination of user education, policy adjustment, and exploring alternative 2SV methods that align with the organization’s operational flow and security requirements. It’s a delicate balance between security and usability, and finding the right mix will require ongoing effort and possibly consultation with Google Workspace support.

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